Purpose: Concurrent gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel treatment is one of the preferred chemotherapy regimens for metastatic and locally advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Previous studies demonstrate that caveolin-1 (Cav-1) expression is critical for nab-paclitaxel uptake into tumors and correlates with response. Gemcitabine increases nab-paclitaxel uptake by increasing Cav-1 expression. Thus, we hypothesized that pretreatment with gemcitabine would further enhance the sensitivity of PDAC to nab-paclitaxel by increasing Cav-1 expression and nab-paclitaxel uptake.
Experimental design: We investigated the sensitivity of different gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel treatment regimens in a panel of PDAC cell lines and orthotopic xenograft models. The sensitivity of different treatment regimens was compared with the standard concurrent treatment.
Results: Pretreatment with gemcitabine before nab-paclitaxel increased Cav-1 and albumin uptake and significantly decreased proliferation and clonogenicity compared with concurrent treatment, which correlated with increased levels of apoptosis. Cav-1 silencing reduced the uptake of albumin, and therapeutic advantage was observed when cells were pretreated with gemcitabine prior to nab-paclitaxel. In addition, we observed that pretreatment with gemcitabine resulted in partial synchronization of cells in the G2-M-phase at the time of nab-paclitaxel treatment, providing another mechanism for the benefit of altered scheduling. In heterotopic and orthotopic xenograft models, the altered schedule of gemcitabine prior to nab-paclitaxel significantly delayed tumor growth compared with concurrent delivery without added toxicity.
Conclusions: Pretreatment with gemcitabine significantly increased nab-paclitaxel uptake and correlated with an increased treatment efficacy and survival benefit in preclinical models, compared with standard concurrent treatment. These results justify preclinical and clinical testing of this altered scheduling combination.
©2020 American Association for Cancer Research.